The Ultimate Checklist: 12 Must-Do WordPress Maintenance Tasks

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Keeping your WordPress website in top shape is crucial for a seamless user experience, optimal performance, and robust security. Regular maintenance tasks ensure your site remains secure, functions flawlessly, and delivers a positive experience for your visitors. Whether you’re a WordPress expert or a newcomer, this in-depth guide covers 12 essential maintenance tasks that you should regularly undertake.

1. Prioritise Robust Security: Guarding the Gates

Your website’s security is paramount. Strong passwords are your first line of defence. Create unique and complex passwords for your WordPress admin panel, database, FTP accounts, and any other relevant access points. Don’t underestimate the importance of frequent password updates. Industry experts recommend changing them regularly to minimise the risk of unauthorised access.

2. Backup Regularly: Safeguarding Your Digital Assets

Backing up your website is an absolute necessity. Consider reliable WordPress backup plugins that automate the process, ensuring a recent copy of your website’s data is readily available. Remember, even the most dependable plugins can malfunction. Schedule manual backups to create a complete copy of your website and store it securely in a remote location like Dropbox or Google Drive.

3. Update Regularly: Keep Your Website Secure & Fast

WordPress, themes, and plugins all benefit from regular updates. These updates typically consist of security improvements, bug resolutions, and performance upgrades. Utilise the built-in update functionality within WordPress to streamline this process. However, don’t overlook the possibility of expired premium plugin or theme licences hindering updates. Manually check for updates to ensure everything stays current.

4. Test Your Forms: Ensuring Smooth Communication

Forms are a vital tool for user interaction on your website. Plugins like WPForms simplify the creation of forms, but configuration errors with your web host or email service provider can disrupt email delivery. Regularly test all your website’s forms to guarantee they function as intended and deliver emails successfully.

5. Optimise Your Database: Streamlining Performance

Your WordPress database stores a wealth of information, including content, user data, comments, and preferences. Over time, this data can accumulate clutter. Database optimization helps eliminate unnecessary data, improving performance and reducing backup sizes. Tools exist to clean up junk, defragment tables, and enhance overall database efficiency.

6. Assess Performance: Maintaining Lightning Speed

Website speed is crucial for both user satisfaction and higher search engine rankings. While initial website optimization is important, ongoing maintenance is essential. New content, plugins, or theme changes can impact performance. Regularly evaluate your website’s speed using free tools like GTMetrix. If your site suffers from slow loading times, consider seeking professional assistance to optimise it for speed.

7. Eradicate 404 Errors: Eliminating Dead Ends

A 404 error occurs when a user attempts to access a non-existent page on your website. While user typos are a common cause, broken links can also lead to 404 errors. These errors disrupt the user experience and should be addressed. The following section on identifying broken links provides solutions to eliminate these frustrating dead ends.

8. Mend Broken Links: Maintaining User Engagement

As your website grows, some external links you’ve included might no longer function. Websites may relocate or disappear entirely. Broken links aren’t limited to external sources. Internal links with typos or incorrect formatting can also be problematic. Utilise online tools like the Broken Backlink Checker to identify broken links on your website. Fixing these links enhances user experience and prevents visitors from encountering frustration.

9. Conduct Content and SEO Audits: Optimising for Success

Regular content and SEO audits are essential for maintaining a thriving website. Tools like Google Analytics and Search Console offer essential data for understanding website performance, audience behaviour, and search engine optimization. Analytics reveals where your visitors come from and how they interact with your website. This information helps identify content that receives high traffic but low conversion rates, allowing you to optimise it for better results.

Search Console’s Search Performance page helps you identify keywords for which your website ranks. Use this information to prioritise content updates that can improve your ranking for these keywords. Consider utilising SEO plugins that offer focus keyword optimization and provide recommendations for improvement. Tools like Screaming Frog can be valuable assets for content audits.

Even high-ranking content can benefit from updates. Consider refreshing content with new information, visuals, and internal links to enhance its value.

10. Optimise Images: Balancing Quality and Speed

Images enhance your website’s visual appeal, but large image files can slow down loading times. During your website speed audit, you may identify particularly large images. However, smaller, less-viewed images might be overlooked, especially on sites with multiple authors who might not prioritise image size optimization. Regularly review your media library to identify images that can be compressed or resized without sacrificing quality.

11. Vigilance is Key: Monitoring Security Logs

Many website owners remain blissfully unaware of attempted attacks until their website slows down or their search ranking plummets. While proactive security measures like strong passwords and regular backups are crucial, vigilance also plays a vital role.

Here's how to stay on top of potential security threats:

Review Error Logs and Access Logs: Most web hosting providers offer access to error logs and access logs. These logs record various activities on your website, including errors encountered and login attempts. Regularly reviewing these logs can reveal suspicious activity, such as failed login attempts from unknown locations.

Security Audit Plugins: Consider installing a security audit plugin for WordPress. These plugins can scan your website for vulnerabilities, malware, and suspicious code. They often provide alerts for potential security issues, allowing you to take immediate action.

12. Addressing Maintenance Tasks: Minimising Disruption

The majority of WordPress maintenance tasks are safe to perform and won’t disrupt your website’s normal operation. Processes like checking for broken links or using an image optimizer plugin might cause temporary slowdowns.

Here are some strategies to minimise disruption during maintenance:

Utilise a Staging Site (Optional): If you have a staging site, a replica of your live website, you can perform maintenance tasks on the staging site and then push the changes live once complete. However, most WordPress users don’t have staging sites.

Schedule Maintenance During Off-Peak Hours: Identify periods when website traffic is typically low. Schedule maintenance tasks for these times to minimise the impact on visitors.

Consider Maintenance Mode: If necessary, you can put your website in maintenance mode while performing essential tasks. This displays a temporary message to visitors informing them that the site is undergoing maintenance.


Maintaining your WordPress website might seem like a daunting task, but don’t be discouraged. As you become familiar with WordPress, these practices will become second nature. Remember, consistent maintenance ensures your website remains secure, performs optimally, and delivers a positive user experience. By following these 12 key tasks, you’ll keep your website in top shape and ensure it continues to thrive online.

For those seeking additional support, consider professional WordPress maintenance services. These services can handle all the maintenance tasks for you, freeing you to focus on creating compelling content and growing your online presence.

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